Trance & electronic music pioneer BT is one of the most cutting-edge artists and producers in recent times. Whether composing intricate scores for blockbuster films such as Fast and Furious, and the Oscar winning Monster; writing and producing for global stars such as Sting, David Bowie, Peter Gabriel and Madonna, to creating cutting edge proprietary software tools from scratch to make it happen - BT is at the heart of it all when it comes to the World of EDM!
We caught up with the man responsible for seminal trance classics such as 'Loving You' More & the timeless anthem 'Flaming June', for a quick chat about things in general & his recent & highly acclaimed album. 'Laptop Symphony'.
Thanks a lot for taking time out of your day to speak to us. Can you tell the readers where you are in the world today and what you have been up to over the last 7 days?
I am at home on the East Coast of America. The last 7 days I have been doing everything from working on music in the studio to performing in Los Angles and San Franciso. I ate a New Mummy Burger which was awesome! I did a book report about Leonardo Davinci with my second grader, spent some time at my family's this weekend; we went sailing and ate some crabs and I have done a lot of bike riding because it's been beautiful and spent a bunch of time in the studio.
We are all over your new compilation album and would love you to tell us a bit more about the really varied tracklisting you selected. Does it reflect your excitement about the rich fusion of club and rave sounds that have emerged over the last couple of years?
Yes it does, it's tough because there are a lot of people that don't know the historical perspective of electronic music. When I was growing up in the early days of dance music there was no sub-categorisation of music like there is now. It was just rave music and you had everything from what now would be called Hardcore, Jungle, Techno, Breakbeat and House. A variety of tempos and a range of styles were all played in a single night which was what the real draw to me about EDM culture.
When I play on my radio shows and live deejaying I play variety of genres of EDM. I love everything from Aphex Twin, Boards Of Canada, Skrillex, Nerd Rage to Armin van Buuren and everything in between. There is something to like about so many types of dance music and unfortunately theres this real sort of close mindidness with a lot of the nubes. It is funny because if you looked at candy ravers from 10 years ago they are some of the most clued up people in our scene. Now some of the youngest people that are coming in they get fixated on one very perseveratiting idiomatic specific genre of music and anything that falls outside it is like the antichrist so I find that pretty frustrating!
As one of the pioneers of dance music in North America it must be very exciting and envigorating to see how the scene is growing in popularity thorughout the years, for us here in Europe can you give us a snapshot of what's been happening and what type of audiences are feeling the beats over there in 2012?
Its incredibly inspiring to see dance music embrace the way it has been in America. There is cheesy stuff that is getting through but some of the cheesy stuff is opening the doors so I think that although we may not like some of the things that make it on mainstream radio, it's really opening peoples pallete to great electronic music.
We gave Skrillex 3 grammy's so something amazing is happening. With so many types of music that teenage american kids are exposed to, all of them are finding stuff to like so its really just at the beginning of the ark of the tipping point in this country. Its a really exciting time to be making dance music and be an American.
Laptop Symphony contains some fresh remixes and unreleased BT projects. Are these cuts that you have been using exclusively in your sets or newer projects?
Some of them are newer projects, some of them have been exclusives and some of them are created just for the mix album. Unfortunately there are some things that we weren't able to clear too. Some mash-ups with accapellas can can get of tricky with copyrights when you have 15 artists on a single piece of music.
A lot of its constructed in the way that I would construct an album out of stems and using pretty high level DSP operations and things I would do on an album as opposed to some sort of remix package or something.
How does it feel to hear your work remixed? You must be so used to some of the arrangememts with your classic tracks right now. How much involvement do you have right now with selecting people to remix your work and have you got any funny stories about what happens when a remix doesn't work out?
I'm pretty obsessive about my output of my officially sanctioned body of work so it's sort of like the iphone: I have really fairly controlled stream of creative output and then theres the jailbroken versions of my remixes too that may have been commissioned by a label or just people somehow got the parts or whatever and did something cooky with it. The remixes that I put out I'm often very involved in.Sometimes to the point of a collaboration.
I love having my songs remixed, theres such amazing talent around at the moment so its an exciting time to have your things remixed. The very first remix I had done for me was Carl Craig and it was the first song that I ever released called "The Moment Of Truth" and from that moment on I was hooked and was so exciting to hear someone else's interpretation of something that you had done so it's a process that I love.
Of course your musical expertese goes far beyond that of the Dance world with Classical music training and a slew of themes for film scores and soundtrack credits to your name. Do you enjoy both parts of your career equally and is it sometimes difficult to juggle studio work and constant touring?
It can be difficult to juggle the two of them but I find myself partitioning my life in to two areas. Doing a film start to finish usually takes between 3 and 5 months. I'll have some weekend shows but theres no serious touring during that time.
I love all aspects of the creative process in the projects that I am lucky enough to be involved in and I particularly love writing for film. I think that in my retirement that will be a lot of what I do. I really enjoy writing for an orchestra, thats one of the most rewarding things I get to do.
Your often credited for helping to create a Trance music sound with your in-depth musicality. Over the years the sound has developed and evolved. What do you think of the state of Trance music in 2012? Are there any in particular young music producers who you recommend?
I think there is some amazing Trance being made right now. The super saw and piano thing drives me absolutely nuts. Without naming any artists, I'm sure someone comes to mind or three comes to mind immediately.
There are a bunch of people coming up whose work I think is really fantastic. Fractual and A5 are absolutely spectacular. What those guys are doing is incredible and I have a vested interest in them too so I am a little bit bias! In terms of progy stuff I love what Arty is doing and theres some amazing Armada artists, I love Ashley Wallbridges stuff.
Your live show and CD are indeed a Laptop Symphony of modern electronic sounds but with your classical background do you have any favourite symphonies that you can recommend we listen to and why?
One of my favourite pieces of music ever written is Rhapsody on a Theme from Paganini. It's just both compositionally and mathematically an eqsuisite piece. The Sunken Cathedral by Debussy for something a little more atonal and a little darker. Equally powerful are the compositions for Hiroshima by Penderecki. Anything by Arvo Part par is just wonderful he is one of my favourite living classical composers.
Sadly that is all we have time for. A big thanks to BT for taking the time out to speak with us.
Grab BT's Laptop Symphony
BT's Track Recommendations
This track is a proud achievement as it fuses the two (dancefloor EDM) styles currently love. Electro and Progressive. Proud of this one and I think this track is a blueprint for much that will follow it.
Talk about a meeting of styles. From breaks to drum and bass to dub in a single track. Figure is an exceptional producer and this track is like a calling card for ADD bass music. Absolutely epic.
This was my tune of the year last year and also what introduced me to Arty's amazing productions. The combination of Ferry's epic melody and Arty's massive beats and production is a total win. The arrangement is deadly. Shortly after this Arty and I began our forthcoming colab "Must be the Love". After I hear this mix, I was like "have to get this guy on this track!". Keep your eyes on him, he's gonna be huge, mark my words.
This is about as good as it gets when you mix quality production skills with beautiful and longing restraint. Sasha once said to me "You don't need a sledgehammer to crack an egg". Andrew shows here sometimes the smallest stone is adequate to slay the largest giant. A beautiful and compelling, skilled production.
This guy blows my mind. Not to mention he is a bombastic drum and bass producer and makes records in Fruity Loops. Yes seriously. So you take Tasha Baxters epic vocal/song and mix it with a monster Feedme production and this is where it lands you. An incredible production.
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